In 2012, Paul Eden’s BMW 1 Series Convertible caught fire and burnt to a crisp. His wife and son were in the car at the time but were able to escape the flames without harm.
Paul contacted Helpdesk at the time and we were able to get Equity Redstar, the Eden’s insurance company, to investigate the matter further. Unfortunately, because the damage was so great, no conclusive evidence of the cause of the fire could be found, despite Paul having heard about a recall for the 1 Series Convertible concerning a possible fire risk. When Paul got in touch with BMW he was told the recall applied to cars built before June 12, 2009, and Paul’s car was made on June 16, 2009.
Paul thought the whole nasty incident was behind him. Equity Redstar had paid out on the insurance claim to the value of the car at the time of the fire.
However, in November 2013, Paul received a letter from BMW’s Customer Information Centre, asking him to book his 1 Series Convertible in at his local dealer as soon as possible because of a fault with the fuel filter heater that ‘may lead to a fire in the vehicle’.
Paul was surprised and angry. He got on the phone to Helpdesk and we started investigating. We contacted BMW to see if it could shed any more light on the fire that had destroyed the car. BMW reiterated that Paul’s 1 Series Convertible wasn’t part of the original recall and that the second letter ‘was issued more recently and is part of our ongoing quality analysis.’
However, BMW was unwilling to get involved with the case as it was ‘an insurance matter as the customer accepted an offer from the insurance company in settlement of their claim’.
We approached Equity Redstar, which was more willing to investigate. We showed the company the recent letter which prompted Equity Redstar to reopen the investigation. The firm assured us that this letter wouldn’t affect Paul’s insurance payout from 2012 and confirmed that it was now in communication with BMW.
Paul is pleased that the previous payout wasn’t affected and is relieved that this isn’t the end of the matter with BMW.
What if this happens to you?
- Keep a record of all communication (written, electronic or telephone) with anyone involved in the case.
- If necessary, employ the services of an independent investigator who specialises in the motor industry.
- Keep your insurance company informed of any developments in the case.
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